Warzone 2.0 has arrived, and like its predecessor, this free-to-play game is big in almost every sense of the word, with an expansive map inhabited by a massive player base. The game is based on the IW9 engine, the same core technology that serves as the foundation for Modern Warfare 2, but here it’s pushed to its limits to draw in a single huge environment while networking up to 150 players.
To put this latest battle royale to the test, the entire DF team has combined forces to achieve simultaneous cross-play capture of every console – starting with PS5, Xbox Series X and Series S. How does each of these platforms do shapes stack up visually, what does performance look like in standard modes, and how does the 120fps experience hold up for those with high refresh rate displays?
Before we get into the numbers, let’s talk about what makes this game so hard to play – and to run, even on powerful game consoles. As a battle royale, it’s all about the giant new map. Al Mazrah is truly colossal, a joint production between multiple Activision studios that ranks as the biggest battleground in the series’ history. Tiny portions of Al Mazrah have already appeared in MW2’s 6v6 and 12v12 modes, but the playing field also includes classic maps from 2007’s Modern Warfare and 2009’s Modern Warfare 2. longtime COD fans, and the map adds new mechanics as well. like boats and water combat.
So how do you best get a sense of performance and visual fidelity on each platform? Well, a multiplayer-focused battle royale isn’t a natural fit for traditional benchmarking, so we’ve teamed up and used the game’s spectator mode to get perfect comparisons between the PS5, Series X, and the S-series. (In terms of settings, we’re using an FOV of 80°, with film grain and world/weapon blur turned off.) In comparison, all three machines have resolution targets, settings Different graphics and frame rates at 60 fps or 120 fps – and the results hold some surprises.
Let’s start with the milkshake that has all the fans in the yard: PS5 versus Series X. Both machines are identical in terms of settings, including resolution, shadows, textures, and foliage density. The S-Series is a different story though, with reductions in grass density and shadow quality being the clearest downgrades for the 4TF machine. More importantly, the Series S is the best example of Warzone 2’s biggest divergence from Modern Warfare 2’s basic technical setup: in its resolution.
To put it simply, Warzone 2 uses dynamic resolution with time scaling at 1440p on Series S and 4K on PS5 and Series X, just like Modern Warfare 2. However, the base resolution here can scale to significantly lower numbers. In the main game, for example, the Series S goes from 2560×1440 to 1280×1440 – halving the number of pixels on the horizontal axis only, which works brilliantly to hold 60 frames per second.
In Warzone 2.0, the resolution dynamically adjusts on both axes rather than just one, bringing us down to 1280×720 at the all time low. Surprisingly, Temporal Anti-Aliasing (TAAU) scaling works flawlessly even at such a low base resolution, producing a clean result that makes long shots of Al Mazrah’s terrain easy to decipher and helps to spot distant adversaries. It’s a similar story for the PS5 and Series X, which can now go down to 1920×1080 at their lowest with scaling on both axes, rather than the horizontal-only scaling we’ve seen in the MW2 core, but the presentation still looks reasonable on a 4K screen.
What about performance then – and do each of the three consoles manage to hit the 60fps performance target? For the PS5 and Series X, it’s honestly close to a locked 60fps. I barely registered much more than a single frame drop, even with GPU utilization increasing the closer we get to the end of a game. Performance is extremely consistent thanks to this wide range of DRS and a scalable and well-architected game engine. The Series S also performs well, albeit with occasional screen tearing at the top of the screen, as well as 55fps drops only occurring in a few places with heavy foliage and water nearby . This suggests a GPU-side limit for water and transparencies handling, but that’s not a big deal – in a few hours of testing these spots are rare, and most of the time you’re watching a comfortable 60fps.
120fps modes are often tougher targets, and this is offered on all three platforms as well. Normally a doubling of the frame rate requires significant settings tweaks, but here the wide DRS range means the game looks almost identical, just smoother and more responsive with a slightly more variable frame rate. The PS5 and Series X often hit between 100 and 120 fps, while the Series S sees deeper and more sustained drops – but 120 fps mode is still worth using on all three consoles, especially if you have access to a display with VRR support.
Looking closer at the numbers, there are a few more points to highlight. The first is that the PS5 is ahead of the Series X in terms of frame rate in all scenarios, the advantage being worth up to 10 frames per second in the worst stress points – and Sony’s machine does not suffer. no screen tearing either. In practice though, most of the game is at 120fps on both, with minor issues when picking up weapons or entering vehicles – a potential network limitation. Despite these minor issues, Warzone 2 is one of the best 120Hz experiences on PS5 or Series X, given its scale.
The second point is that the Xbox Series S typically doesn’t hit the full 120fps line for a consistent stretch. It’s more accurate to say it’s between 80 and 100 frames per second, with occasional dips in the 70s. On a VRR screen, there’s definitely enough image data to turn into a smooth result in motion – a 12.5-8.3ms frame time window, still a nice upgrade over the 16.7ms frame persistence of 60 fps. Even so, there’s a competitive reason to favor one of the higher-end consoles over the Series S, with up to a 40fps difference between the Series S and Series X as we parachute back from the Gulag. Still, the powerful 60fps mode is also available here, and the 120fps mode is still a great choice if you have a VRR screen.
As a free live service game, it’s important to stress that this is the current state of Warzone 2.0 and things may change – for better or worse – in the future. Right now though, from a visual and performance standpoint at least, Warzone 2 is really strong on all current-gen consoles. The 120fps mode works wonderfully on PS5 and Series X, while Series S is no slouch either – although 60fps provides more consistent performance on the slimmer console. Image quality and shade/foliage adjustments aside, it’s quite competitive with high-end machines.
Of course, our investigations don’t end there – watching the last-gen versions on PS4/Pro and Xbox One/X will be fascinating, and I can’t wait to see how the original Xbox One from 2013 handles Warzone 2.0 – stay tuned. listening.
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